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Burns, Cuts and Bruises

Fred's Fantastic Fail Fall

"Okay okay, but how about: super. bouncy. shoes. That way you don't always have to stand on a chair to reach the top bookshelf! Especially you Gogo, I think you would benefit most from them! Come on guys- it's practical, has a good reason for existing and it. Would. Be. Awesome!" Fred recited the three top considerations for an invention with a flourish, even standing on the headrest of his shlumpy mauve chair hands-to-the-heavens at the end to emphasize his point.

His audience however, was far from as enthusiastic. Wasabi looked at him through half closed eyes and a half smile, clearly not dignifying the suggestion with a response and Gogo was stretching the one side of her mouth like she did when she was amused, not fascinated or lighting up at the thought of a new invention. The only one who looked like they were even considering the idea was Tadashi. He had his eyes narrowed and chin in his palm, trying to work something together in his fansazmical mind.

Tadashi finally broke the silence with a simple remark, "You know Fred, you and my brother would get along really well."

Fred at last moved from his Position of Emphasis on top of his mauve chair to let himself flop over the backrest, hanging on by his knees and resting his elbows over his legs, not minding in the least that they were all ignoring his idea. He'd have the next one come to him in a few seconds. Though he was sure super jumpy shoes would have generated at least something of a response… well, Fred mused, if he was honest with himself, he would just use them to jump around in. Most of the bookshelves he was used to had ornate ladders leaning close by anyway. Fred just smiled and answered Tadashi's remark, "Think so dude? Why not invite him over some time? I'd love to get to know the minnie Hamada!"

Tadashi smiled, "Ya, maybe I should… thing is, he's kind of opposed to schools. I'm pretty sure he thinks he'll only be bombarded with thinks he already knows, like he's always been."

Fred made a face, "Hm, that's like the opposite of me, haha, I'm always up to learning something I don't know!"

"Ya well it's never very hard to find something you don't know Fred." Gogo said with a quirk to her eyebrows.

Fred put his fingers on his chest, "I resent that. Most strongly in fact; but I shall be the gentleman and not respond."

Gogo raised her eyebrows and was about to say something probably having to do with irony when an alarm suddenly blared through the student's heads. The excruciatingly loud BEEP BEEP BEEPs made everyone jump and make for the exits in startled speed.

It was the fire alarm.

Fred was as startled as anyone would be if an alarm as loud as a Ring Wraith's scream had suddenly gone off. But he also was smiling as big as the cheshire cat. He loved it when things didn't quite go according to plan, and already his mind was loaded with ideas and scenarios. Fire proof underwear, water streaming clothes, automatic water AND fire shoes. The possibilities were endless. And that wasn't all. The 'fire that started it all' was like one of the top three super hero and villain starters or all time. A whole new meta-human could be born out of this!

"Can you imagine the possibilities?!" Fred whispered to himself, still looking around for a possible source of the alarm if there was one. Wasabi, who was walking beside Fred, heard him and grinned, knowing exactly what he was talking about. Wasabi might not have much patience for Fred's invention ideas but he was always up for a sci-fi chat. Honestly, sometimes they went on for hours about the Klingons or warp speed vs. light speed, or droids verses humans. Though if they got into a Star Wars vs. Star Trek 'discussion' they usually ended up not speaking to each other for three days.

Fred looked around as he made his way to the exit with the streams of students, some already on their phones, most talking excitedly, some of them looked bored out of their mind and others were frustrated by the inconvenience.

Oh ya, Fred almost chucked, CH 324 was supposed to be having their first midterm today, which was where Honey Lemon was, probably practically humming to herself while doing it even though she was nervous about it before. Fred knew she totally had it in the bag though and he was planning to be right at the door when she was done with his pom poms to congratulate her.

Speaking of, where was she? The chemistry class was close by so Honey would probably be filing out with everyone and the hallway to get out was filling fast so they were still making their way to the doors. Fred craned his neck to spot his friend. He put his hand on Tadashi to leverage himself as he jumped up. As he came down, he noticed his friend's face, creased with worry,

"Hey dude, you okay?"

Tadashi just nodded distractedly as they walked slowly out the doors into the fresh air, "Ya Fred, I'm fine, it's okay."

Fred immediately understood. His buddy was tense and alert. And it wasn't nerves about his inventions getting burnt or anything- the lab was state of the art in fire prevention and everyone knew their inventions would be fine. Besides, Fred had been in the big lab when the alarm went off so the likelihood of it being a lab fire wasn't high. Fred began to frown as well because if it was a lab fire, Tadashi did have reason to worry because the lab alarms only went off if the fire was out of control or someone was injoured.

Fred sucked on his cheeks and furrowed his brow, empathizing with Tadashi's state of mind. Tadashi was always nervous around fire alarms whether or not they were real or a drill. He would have been the kid in elementary who almost cried because of the loud noise and commotion they induced. He was always scared they could be real. Not only did his parents die in a fiery car crash, but Tadashi had such a big heart, he couldn't bear it if someone was trapped inside. He'd probably actually become super reckless Fred mused. Knowing Tadashi, the smartest dude he knew, he would turn idiot and run in to save someone. If he had two working legs that would be reason enough to help- and that was for most any scenario. Fred on the other hand, actually liked the sudden interruption. He loved surprises!

And by Sherlock he got one.

His nerd herd had turned to the side of the long set of stairs outside the labs to go to a space less crowded with excited students. Fred and Tadashi had been at the back of Gogo and Wasabi and turned to follow the two. Fred turned as soon as he was out of the doors to see if there was any smoke rising out of the lab building and had his hand still on Tadashi's shoulder when he missed the first stair.

The rest was like a slow motion moment in an action movie. Fred's feet moved to steady him but the momentum of the slip had caught him completely unawares and propelled him backwards. Unable to find a footing on the first stair where he was balancing on tiptoes, his leg moved behind him to find some more flooring. Unfortunately, as slow as it seemed, it was happening too fast for anything to register in Fred's brain about the logistics of stairs and the fact that they usually decreased in angle so he completely missed the next stair all together and was in a complete free-fall for about 0.57 seconds (in his professional opinion he added later when he often told the story). He had barely registered Tadashi's gasp of surprise and move to grab him and his friend was already far too late for that anyway. He was rag-dolling it now. Head over heels in probably one of the most amazing stair trips in history, Fred rolled down the long stairs, becoming angled sideways near the end and landing spectacularly on his stomach. Completely sprawled out like a starfish on the cement on the bottom of the stairs, Fred's chin clunked on the final stair. It was as if the stairs hit him one last time for good measure for being so careless as to trip down them. How dare he.

Time was back to normal speed by the time Fred reached the bottom. His head quickly orientating itself, he realized where he was and raised his head to look up the stairs he had practically cartwheeled down. He suddenly smiled. Woa. That happened.

He almost immediately also became aware of the crowd around him. Wasabi was moving to help him up and Tadashi was feeling his limbs with expertly quick hands for broken bones, their voices suddenly blaring like the fire alarms through his head,

"Fred!"

"Are you okay?"

"Does he look okay!?"

"Um, he's smiling..."

"He could have a concussion for all we know!"

"But he's smiling."

"Fred's always smiling!"

"Exactly, so he's fine. If he weren't he wouldn't be smiling."

"Any broken bones Tadashi?"

"None that I can feel- Fred, where does it hurt?"

"Hey, dude, can you hear us?"

Fred made to get up. There was a huge crowd around him and most were looking at him worriedly, some were smiling and others were jabbing each other. By Thor!- they were jabbing each other on how epic that fall was!

Fred beamed and sat up, wincing slightly. His chin stung so he had probably scraped it. His elbow and shin hurt to the bone and he would definitely have gorgeous bruises along them, but he felt remarkably fine…

"I'm good dudes- s'all gooood!" He pumped his fists in the air.

People laughed now, realizing Fred was actually okay and cheered. Fred got a few slaps on the back as the crowd dispersed and began talking about the soon to be famous Fred's Epic Stair Fall… hm… Fred would have to change that... Ah ha! Fred's Fantastic Fail Fall! Perfection.

Meanwhile, Wasabi was helping him up,

"Little man, you realize you actually backwards summer salted down those stairs right? Right in between me and Gogo!"

"That. Was amazing Fred." Gogo beamed at Fred and punched him in the arm.

"Hehe, I know eh? O-hoho-OWwowoa!" Fred suddenly fell back to the ground and looked at his right foot. It didn't hurt necessarily… oh wait, yes it did. It just felt a little fuzzy. And, was it shaking? Fred only shook like that if he had forgotten to eat breakfast or didn't drink enough water.

Tadashi was beside him in an instant, "Fred! You probably sprained your ankle. I couldn't feel any broken bones though but you should still go to the doctor. Just in case."

Fred waived his hand dismissively, "Nah dude, if you say it's only a sprain, it's only a sprain. You're practically as good as a doctor anyway."

Tadashi didn't look so convinced, "Fred, I'm nothing like a doctor, you could have unknown injuries. A fall like that could have knocked you out cold!"

Fred just smiled. He was never one to be down for long. And a sprained ankle was so cool! He had never gotten one before! It was a weird sensation. His bruises hurt like bruises, kind of a dull pain now, but the ankle was throbbing and felt kind of tingly. And it was still shaking. Cool. It was beginning to hurt some though.

Fred raised his hands like a toddler to Wasabi who rolled his eyes but obliged and lifted him up. Fred balanced well enough on one foot testing the other one out. It actually didn't hurt as much as he- woa!- K, never mind. It hurt.

Wasabi was right behind Fred, ready to catch him again, Tadashi was trying to read through Fred's smile, "Fred, how much does it hurt?"

Fred was always one to be dramatic, but it was just a sprained ankle. His friends were at the entrance of midterms. He could take care of himself. He didn't want to be a bother to them. They were so hard working and each of them- even Gogo, Fred knew for sure- would worry and dote on him if he said the truth. It actually really hurt.

Fred scratched his beanie, "Like on a scale from one to ten? I'd say a dull six." Lier. It was eight at least.

A light suddenly lit up behind Tadashi's eyes, "On a scale from one to ten…? A six huh?"

A bell sounded and everyone began filing back in, some running to get back to their midterms as soon as possible.

As his nerd herd looked at the doors and the moving crowd, Fred placed his foot down again. He hissed a silent intake of breath, though only Gogo twitched like she had heard it. The pain throbbing up his leg was now between his ears. He would need help going up those stairs.

Fred glanced at Wasabi. Most of the bulk of the students had gone inside now and Fred smiled maniacally. Wasabi suddenly became aware of Fred's wicked smile and waved his hands, "No. No no no no no, never happening. No."

A few seconds later, Fred was being carried in bridal style by Wasabi.

Back in their lab, Fred was plopped unceremoniously on his green chair. It wasn't a frustrated plop though. Wasabi was actually very gentle.

Tadashi, Wasabi and Gogo all gathered around Fred, eyes questioning.

"Guys I'll be fine. Six remember?" Fred the appropriate amount of fingers at his friends, "Action should not be taken unless it's a seven at least." Another glint of Tadahshi's eyes pleased Fred. He had achieved his inventing goal after all. He loved making his friends' minds spark.

Wasabi sighed, "Okay dude, but please let me know if I can get you anything."

Tadashi looked resolute. Fred couldn't have that. Tadashi had more work than any of them to do, "Tadashi, look at me." Fred grabbed his buddy's cardigan, bringing Tadashi eye level, "I promise I'll let you know if you can help me with anything." Fred said in his most serious voice. Tadashi glanced at his lab. It was certainly demanding his attention. Which it should be!

"Fine, as long as it's a promise." Tadashi looked sideways at Fred.

"It's a promise." Fred held out his fist and Tadashi bumped it back.

Tadashi walked and closed his door. Good. thought Fred, now all that's left is… Gogo?

Said friend was staring straight into Fred's soul as he turned to almost bump noses with the feisty biker.

"You don't fool me for a second Frederick."

Fred gulped.

"I've seen enough sprained ankles to know that this one is bad. It needs ice and sprain tape and a tenser."

Fred didn't know what to say. Ha! Since when did that happen!?

Gogo was already on the move, muttering about fooling the two dimwits, but not her and how dare he even try.

She came back with the first aid kit and took out the tenser bandage, "There's no ice around this lab for some reason- I be it was Philip- but here's a tenser. Take off your shoe."

Fred complied with a wince. His ankle was already swollen and quite warm to the touch. He hissed in pain as Gogo removed the sock to see a dark pink swell on the inner side of the ankle, bruises forming around the edges,

"Well," He joked, "It will make a beautiful garden."

Gogo didn't respond and wound the tenser around his ankle with surprisingly quick and gentle hands.

"You've done this before." Fred raised an eyebrow.

Gogo finally cracked a smile, "More times than I care to count. Hamada's a great guy and knows more than a doctor about medical practices, but I doubt he's seen anything worse than a bruise. It takes one to know one and you, nitwit, have a pretty bad sprained ankle." Gogo finished the tenser bandage with the appropriate clip and put the first aid kit back together. Fred was about to thank her and shoo her on her way but Gogo suddenly met his eyes from her crouch and his mouth seemed to shut on its own accord.

"Listen Fred," Gogo began as she rose up onto her feet, "I know you and because you think you annoy us- which you do- you'll want to stay out of our way because of midterms because of this injury. We'll dote on you, and I'm not saying we won't because that's not true, but you don't realize how much of an amazing distraction you are. We need something- someone- to laugh at and remind us how to smile around here, because, truth be told, we would have forgotten by now if it wasn't for you. So please make sure you're here so Tadashi can mother you because his little brother isn't around here to take that place; so Wasabi can still rant about Star Trek to someone other than me and so Honey Lemon can have someone to talk to and giggle with that will never get her down and… so that I can be reminded that it's okay to slow down sometimes. You may think that you can be annoying at times- which you are- and in the way- which you are- and too silly- which you are but... don't stop. Out of all the ideas and inventions and projects around here, you are the most practical, you have a good reason to exist and you are more awesome than anything we could ever make."

She didn't have to tell him as she walked back to her lab station that if she was asked, she would deny the conversation ever happened.


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